I posted a while ago regarding the students who plan a walk from Miami to D.C. to protest U.S. immigration policy. Now, in the wake of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, protesters have descended on a Greenwich Village detention center to demand the release of Jean Montrevil, a Haitian immigrants rights advocate (Mr. Montrevil is actually being held in York County, PA). According to this NYT story, the protest follows the arrests of 19 people on charges of blocking traffic.
Immigrantion protest organizers say this is the first time in recent memory that protesters had engegd in acts of civil disobedience. The repertoires of immigration protests appear to be changing, in response to the absence of meaningful federal immigration reform. I posted a while ago about the group of illegal resident students who planned a march from Miami to D.C., even though they were subject to arrest and deportation. Hunger strikes and mass conference calls have also recently been used to draw public attention to immigration reform. Reform advocates are facing a crowded public policy docket, which includes health care, two wars, and financial reform. The peaceful mass demonstrations held in the summer of 2006 started a nationwide discussion of immigration reform. But that discussion has produced little in the way of progress. Protesters are turning to more unique and in some cases more aggressive repertoires of contention in an effort to draw attention to their cause.